Best Meditation App in 2020: Insight Timer

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Reassess our privileges, realign our mindset, restore our sanity–those were major life actions we confronted in 2020. A major societal transition is currently happening just to get us back into our toes, and no one is exempted in this kickass journey.

We were forced to look deep within our souls and rethink our lives. The ground shook (literally and figuratively) that got us grounded (pun not intended). Stress, anxiety, depression may have gotten the best in us, but as humans, we have no choice but to rise above it all. And so we learned the best way to keep calm and carry on real quick: meditation.

How to relieve stress quickly?

Meditation allows us to feel like trees–grounded and resilient to rise above deficiencies. We may be cut down, but we regain what we have lost. Although we learn that we are not alone, our friends are in the same boat as ours. They may not be available at all times, so sometimes we have to deal with our burdens alone. We turn to apps, and meditation apps are so useful now more than ever. Meditation transcended its niche market, and revolutionizes how younger generations see wellness.

The meditation app market has been growing even before the pandemic, and it is predicted to grow and become more popular in the years to come. You can review a variety of widely-available apps both for beginners and seasoned practitioners, but which one is actually the best meditation app in 2020?

Insight Timer: The best meditation app in 2020

While I like to concur that Calm (2nd app that I tried), Headspace (my first app), Tide (I still dig the quotes), 10 Percent Happier are a few of the best apps to try meditation, I will discuss why Insight Timer is the best meditation app in 2020. I subscribed to all these apps before I came to this conclusion, and Insight Timer has never been unbeaten. I will first tackle a brief overview of Insight Timer, and then delve deeper into its features that you will not be able to find in any other meditation app.

Insight Timer quick overview

  • Meditation classes: 45,000 (all free)
  • Yoga: Yes (October 2020)
  • Language support: select up to 5 (from 42 languages)
  • Level of practice: All
  • Build own playlist: Yes
  • Interactive community: Yes
  • Private mode: Yes
  • Play music outside app: Yes
  • In-app purchases: Yes (Courses)
  • Mood check-in section: None
  • Breath-work section: None
  • Learn more: FAQs

Insight Timer’s home screen could be very overwhelming. Below are Insight Timer’s important sections, as you would want to click on one section first to get acquainted with the platform. This is located on top of the page, so you can head straight to any section, if you don’t have an idea where to begin.

Tip: you can actually rearrange these widgets in the settings, to customize your experience.

Insight Timer Sections

Choose your section:

Customizable sections
Insight Timer's sections - first area in Home screen
Customizable sections
  • Beginners – dedicated to those who are new to meditation
  • For parents – meditate with your kids, or share it with your teens
  • Music – Binaural beats, indigenous, Consciously Designed Music, ambient, Solfeggio (name it!)
  • Talks – 2,000 lectures, podcasts, interviews, poems, readings
  • Timer – no guide; bell strikes at the end of the session; option to add heavenly music
  • Courses – 400 masterclasses (Premium: US$59.99/year or US$9.99/month)
  • Guided – Guided meditations that you can filter by time, benefits (i.e., anxiety), practices (i.e., concentration, visualization) or origins
  • Daily Insight – If you feel lazy to browse through classes, then this section is for you
  • Sleep – Head straight here if you want a sleep guide, music, or bedtime story

Customize your content options (origins):

Insight Timer's content filters
  • Science – practices grounded in the latest research
  • Secular – dogma, belief systems
  • Spirituality– connect deeply with something greater
  • New Age – alternative approaches to transformation and healing
  • Religion – sacred tradition

Best meditation app in 2020: Top 8 Reasons

So, here is the list of my top 8 reasons why Insight Timer is the best meditation app in 2020. My list comprises the best features of Insight Timer, and are not available in other popular apps. My best meditation app in 2020 verdict is arguable, but if you have tried all of them (which I have), you might definitely agree with me.

1. Free forever

The value for community–this is the primary reason I fell in love with Insight Timer. While it nourishes you in your practice, they add value to their meditation teachers too. Everybody is welcome, and everybody is free to teach, and learn. They live by the principle of equal give-and-take, pay-it-forward scheme. And that is enriching in all aspects.

Insight Timer community messages - from those you have allowed in your network
Receive messages from your fellow practitioners

Insight Timer will never ask you to subscribe after a few days of trying it out. They will never ask for you credit card info just to sign up. Also, they will never lock you out in the platform if you have no means to pay for the classes.

Hence, their unique selling proposition of “meditate as long as you want without paying a cent” is absolutely affirming, consoling, and supportive in such trying times. Meditation teaches us to be inclusive, kind, compassionate, and loving. And Insight Timer lives up to this by making it accessible to everyone, regardless of status, or where you are in your journey.

I have never believed in a meditation that comes with a price, unless you wish your practice be money and ego-based. Before Insight Timer has offered a Premium option, the founders sent a message to all of its users that they were finding ways to maintain the app. They were able to innovate, without compromising their core values. And that made me stick with this community all the more.

2. Solfeggio frequencies

Why Insight Timer is the best app in 2020: ambient music beyond nature sounds - wide range Solfeggio frequencies to listen to,
Screenshot: Solfeggio frequencies and more

All of the popular meditation apps have soundscapes. These are sounds of nature, or instrumental music that are best used to relax. While nature sounds are therapeutic, Solfeggio frequencies are much more effective to instantly shift your mood. Other apps offer ambient sounds, but it feels more like a cinematic score to me than a relaxation tool. Most of the time, other apps try to create a mood (if I may say, somber). Insight Timer offers a variety of soundscapes, at varying lengths too.

What are Solfeggio frequencies? These are electromagnetic frequencies that greatly alter your vibration even while you sleep. Solfeggio frequencies raise your vibration quickly. Listening to it is a foolproof, no-brainer way to create changes in you, both physiological and psychologically. And your unconscious will do the work for you.

3. Learn new techniques

You may choose to work on relationships or build on self-trust. In other apps, there is just a single series dedicated to manage this goal, and you are stuck with one instructor.

Insight Timer allows you to work on a specific goal, with the freedom to shift from one instructor to the next. Their in-app purchases entail Course enrollment (masterclasses), which is good if you’re building a habit. But even if you settle with the free option, the amount of classes is ample to deepen your meditation practice.

You may choose to learn and experience Ho’oponopono (Hawaiian practice of forgiveness), Japa Mala (mantra with the use of prayer beads), or Reiki meditation practices. All these and more are available (to reiterate: for free) at Insight Timer.

4. Cultivate a value

I listed down three values I wish to cultivate. These are gratitude, empathy, forgiveness. While there are a lot more, I have prioritized these three values primarily because these are the hardest, if not often overlooked. Gratitude is the key to manifestation and happiness. And this is what makes all of us in high vibe. Hence, it is a powerful value that each individual should definitely learn. Empathy and forgiveness, on the other hand, are two of the hardest ones to cultivate.

I ran a thorough search of these keywords per app, and Insight Timer is the only app that offers a wealth of topics and meditation classes to cultivate such values. All the other apps claim to be the best meditation apps. But if you run a search with these keywords, it’s either no classes are available, or they offer a single series from an instructor.

Insight Timer gives you the freedom to choose how to be guided. Various instructors mean various approaches, hence a chance to discover the appropriate one for your meditation style. Some like it without background music, and some like a Vipassana style. You can also cultivate these values in styles you may have not experienced before, and Insight Timer supports your choice. The app showcases the beauty of exploration.

5. Variety of instructors

You have an option to follow an instructor that you feel is right for your practice, and then you get to choose which of their offerings would fit what you are working on. For example, if you want to learn more about Twin Flames or Soulmates, you have an option to go to a Talk, a Meditation class, or a Course on how to manifest one. Other apps do not have this option.

Sometimes I choose instructors based on voice. Sometimes I want to hear a guide who feels like a nurturing mom or a guy friend who listens actively. I like that Insight Timer can adapt to my mood. Do you need Harry Styles for your meditation practice? Maybe. But not for me.

You can listen to popular individuals to get you motivated, sure. You would love to hear them put you to sleep, cool. But if you offer high quality content, you really don’t need a celebrity to gain a cult following. Word-of-mouth will do (look at me!).

Apps who build a hype around their celebrity narrators do not qualify as the best meditation app in 2020, because it feels less authentic and appears less sustainable to me.

Insight Timer allows you to discover professional meditation teachers, institutes, and groups around the world (Tara Brach is also in Calm, by the way). You can donate to these instructors if you wish. I think this is one of the reasons it can sustain a free-for-all platform. It is give-and-take, hence each individual in the community can thrive.

6. New classes daily

Insight Timer is a smorgasbord of teachers who teach a myriad of techniques and classes. One teacher alone can offer multiple classes.

Just like having your Daily Mix in Spotify, Insight Timer curates new classes. And just like your Discover Weekly, Insight Timer offers playlists and staff picks, apart from the updated list from the instructors you follow. While there are updated playlists (i.e., Soothing Panic–see 2nd photo below) that you can play and go, you can build your own playlist based on your personal practice. You can also join a group based on your interests, and share insights within the community.

7. Regular live events

This feature has just started during the pandemic, and this is helpful to connect with your soul tribe during challenging times. Insight Timer is an online community of spiritual beings. We learn together, we grow together–that is the vibe I get as part of this community. You can offer gratitude to others who have meditated with you, and you can also journal your experience after each practice. Just like prayer and the Earth hour, live events set a collective intention which raise the efficacy of this intention. Live events also transcend space, so you feel more connected with the spiritual collective.

8. Advanced modalities

Meditation is not just about anxiety relief. Other apps seem to position themselves as forerunners in healing depression. While meditation is therapy, and we may have stumbled upon it when we were depressed, it is best to get to know the wonders of meditation beyond healing.

Meditation also allows you to access ancient wisdom, deepen self-awareness, train the mind, break limiting beliefs, and manifest impossible desires. Marketing meditation only as a stress relief tool is a good way to hook interest, but it may not be a sustainable one to develop an advanced practice. Other apps position themselves as hip and funky, that they forget about offering ways to dive deep into the laws of the universe.

Example of an advanced modality in Insight Timer: powerful Lower Astral Clearing Transmission
Experience advanced techniques in Insight Timer

To specify, take a look at other Insight Timer classes: psychotherapy, past life regression, Akashic Records healing meditation, Quantum Healing, Shamanic Journey practice, finding your twin flame, Archangel Transmission, full moon meditation, and the list goes on. Even philosophical schools of thought like Taoism or Buddhism can be explored either on Talks, Classes, or Courses section.

At least from my perspective

In my experience, I knew that I was spiritually ascending when I learned to project my aura to a person I am meditating with, and when I felt confident about the art of manifestation. All of those I learned throughout my journey with Insight Timer. There were 2 classes in the platform that I used as a guide. I meditated on it every day, and in just a week, I manifested what I envisioned.

And so I share that in the last spot, as I close this review. I value progression, and deeper ways to connect with something greater than me. To emphasize, Insight Timer is the best meditation app in 2020, because good graphic design or a celebrity storyteller can never overturn that experience.

Final thoughts

The consciousness evolution we’re experiencing goes beyond just handling our inability to cope with it. While meditation allows us to reinstate our own power against information overload and the vicissitudes of media technology, it is our duty to stick to it, so we are not dependent on any meditation app.

We are called to shift our mindsets. And we are invited to build a habit towards equanimity, if not be the leading peacemakers in our community. All meditation apps can help us through trying times, but how we make it ingrained in our system requires constant practice.

Insight Timer is sustainable in the sense that it does not only help us cope, but the app helps us expand our consciousness as we work with unseen energies in the universe. In an also evolving digital-world, the business models that appears to stand the test of time are those that are community-driven.

I consider Insight Timer as the best meditation app in 2020 because they continue to rise above the demands of a fast-paced society. They stand by their promise to make the app free forever (50% of income shared with meditation teachers). It takes a village to raise a child, so they say, and I strongly feel that Insight Timer is committed to this philosophy.

Lovely update:

Insight Timer Yoga is launching on October 2020! Now tell me, what’s not to love about this app?

Are you using Insight Timer too? What do you like (or hate) about it? Please feel free to share your comments below! Happy meditating! /highfive!

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